ספר יצירה (Sefer Yetsirah) The Book of Formation (MS K)
[§1] By means of thirty-two wondrous paths of wisdom Yah YHWH of armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name (Isaiah 57:15), engraved. He created His world with three סֶפָרִים (sefarim), books [cf. BT Rosh ha-Shanah 16b]: בְסֵפֶר וּסְפָר וְסִיפּוּר (ve-sefer u-sefar we-sippur), book, census, and recounting [MS Z].
[§2] Ten סְפִירוֹת בְּלִימָה (sefiroth belimah), ciphers of emptiness [cf. M Avot 5:1], are the basis and the twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters].
[§3] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis—like the number of the ten fingers, five opposite five and the covenant of the singular One is precisely in the middle in the covenant of the tongue and the circumcision of the flesh.
[§4] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis—ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand in wisdom, be wise in understanding. Examine them, explore them. Establish the matter thoroughly, and restore the יוֹצֵר (Yotser), Creator, to His dwelling.
[§5] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis: restrain your mouth from speaking, restrain your heart from thinking. And if your heart races return to the place, as is written, running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14). And concerning this the Covenant was made.
[§6] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis. Their end is embedded in their beginning like a flame bound to a burning coal. For the אֲדוֺן (Adon), Lord, is singular, and He has none second to Him; and before one, what can you count?
[§7] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis; their measure is ten yet they have no limit: depth of beginning and depth of end, depth of good and depth of evil, depth of above and depth of below, depth of east and depth of west, depth of north and depth of south. And the singular Lord, a trustworthy divine king, rules over them all from His holy dwelling for ever and ever.
[§8] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis. Their appearance is like the sight of lightning, and their end?—they have no limit. And His word is in them as though running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14), and they pursue His command like the storm wind, and before His throne they bow down.
[§9] The twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters].
[§10] Ten sefiroth, that is to say: One—רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים (rhuaḥ Elohim ḥayyim), Breath of the Living God. Twice blessed is the name of the חֵי הַעוֹלָמִים (ḥei ha-olamim), Vitality of the Worlds. Voice, breath, word—this is רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (rhuaḥ ha-qodesh), the Holy Spirit.
[§12] Two—breath from Breath: He engraved and hewed in it the twenty-two basic letters—three mothers, and seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters]. And Breath is one of them.
[§13] Three—water from rhuaḥ, wind: He engraved and hewed in it תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (thohu wa-vohu), welter and waste (Genesis 1:1), mud and mire (Isaiah 57:20). He engraved them like a sort of garden-bed. He erected them like a sort of wall, and he wove them like a sort of roof.
[§14] Four—fire from water: He engraved them and hewed in it the Throne of Glory, and the ofanim and the serafim, and the holy living beings, and the ministering angels. And from the three of them He founded His dwelling, as is said: He makes His messengers the winds, His ministers, glowing fire (Psalms 104:4).
[§15] Five—He sealed above. He chose three simple letters and embedded them in His great Name. And He sealed with them six קָצֶווֹת (qatse’ot), ends, and He turned upwards and scaled it. Seven—He sealed the east, and He turned downwards [in front] and sealed it. Eight—He sealed the west, and He turned behind and sealed it. Nine—He sealed the south, and He turned to His right and sealed it. Ten—He sealed the north, and He turned to His left and sealed it.
[§16] Ten sefiroth belimah are the basis: רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים (rhuaḥ Elohim ḥayyim), Breath of the Living God; and rhuaḥ, wind, water, fire; above, below, east, west, north and south.
[§17a] The twenty-two letters: they are engraved by voice, hewn by breath, embedded in the mouth in five positions: אחה״ע בומ״ף גיכ״ק דטלנ״ת זסשר״ץ (alef ḥeth he ‘ayin, beth waw mem peh, gimel yod khaf qof, daleth teth lamed nun taw, zayin samekh shin resh tsadhi) [קְדוּשָׁה (qedhushah), Holiness].
[§18] The twenty-two letters are their foundation. Embedded in the תְּלִי (Teli), in a wheel with 231 gates. The wheel turns forward and backward. And this is the sign: if for good, above—עֹנֶג (‘oneg), delight; if for evil, below—נֶגַע (nega’), affliction.
[§19a] Twenty-two letters: He engraved them, hewed them, weighed them, permuted them, and transposed them, forming with them the נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), life-breath, of everything formed, and the nefesh, soul, of everything destined to be formed [cf. M Sanhedrin 4:5].
[§19b] How did He weigh and permute them? א (Alef) with them all, and all of them with alef; ב (beth) with them all, and all of them with beth. And they rotate in turn. Found through 231 gates, from which All was created; all speech and everything formed is found emerging from one name.
[§20] Out of תֹהוּ (thohu), nothing, He formed מַמָשׁ (mamash), something, making them its existence [alt., making what is not into what is (MS Z)]. He hewed enormous pillars out of אֲוִיר (awir), air, that cannot be grasped [cf. Bereshit Rabbah 1:5]. This is the sign:
[§21 (according to Pardes Rimonim, 30:5)]
אל בת גש דר הק וץ זף חע טס ין כם אב גת דש הר וק זץ חף חע יס כן לם אג דת הש ור זק חץ טף יע כס לן בם אד בג הת וש זר חק טץ יף כע לס מן אה בר ות זש חר טק ין כף לע מס גן או בה גד זת חש טג יק כץ לף מע נס אז בו גה חת טש יד כק לץ חף נע דס אח בז גו דה טת יש כר לק מץ נף סע אט בח גז דו ית כש לר מק נץ סף הע אי בט גח דז הו כת לש מר נק סץ עף אב בי גט דח הז לת מש נר סק עץ יף אל בך גי דט הח וז מת נש סר עק פץ אמ בל גס די הט זה צת סש ער פק זן אג בם גך דק הי וט זח סת עש פר צק אס בג גמ דל הס וי זט עת פש צר חק אע בס גנ דמ הל וכ זי חט פת צש קר אף בע גס דנ המ ול זכ חי צת קש טר אץ בף גע דס הג ומ זל חס טי קת רש אק בץ גף דע הס וג זם חל טב רת יש אר בק גץ דף הע וס זג חמ טל יב שת אש בר גק דן הף וע זס חג טמ יל כת את בש גר דק הץ וף זע חס טן ימ כל
[§22] He looks and exchanges; making all that is formed and all speech one name. And a sign for the matter: twenty-two objects and one body.
[§23] Three mothers: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). Their basis is the scale of acquittal and the scale of guilt, and the tongue of law holds the balance between them.
[§24] Three mothers: alef, mem, shin—a great mystery, hidden and ineffable, and sealed with six seals. And from it goes out fire, and water and wind, and it is divided into male and female.
[§25] Three—fire, water and wind; fire above, water below, and wind is between them. And this is a sign for the matter that fire evaporates water.
[§26] Three mothers: alef, mem, shin. Mem lifts up, and shin hisses, and alef is the balancing item.
[§27] Three mothers: alef, mem, shin. And from them were born three fathers from whom everything was created.
[§28] Three mothers: alef, mem, shin—in the world: wind and water and fire. Heavens were created first from fire, and earth was created from water, and אוֹר (or), light [alt.,אֲוִיר (awir), air] was created from רוּחַ (rhuaḥ), spirit, holding the balance between them.
[§29] Three mothers alef, mem, shin—in the year: fire, and water and wind. Heat was created from fire, and cold was created from water, and humidity from wind holding the balance between them.
[§30] Three mothers alef, mem, shin—in a nefesh, person. The head was created from fire, the belly from water, and the chest from rhuaḥ, breath, holding the balance between them.
[§31] Three mothers alef, mem, shin. He engraved them, hewed them, transposed them, forming with them the three mother [letters] in the world, and the three mother [letters] in the year, and the three mother [letters] in a person—male and female.
[§32] He made alef rule over breath, and bound to it a crown, and transposed them with each other, sealing with them אֲוִיר (awir), atmosphere, in the world, humidity in the year, and the chest in a person—male with alef, mem, shin and female with shin, mem, alef.
[§33] He made מ (mem) rule over מַיִם (mayim), water, and bound to it a crown, and sealed with it earth in the world, cold in the year, and the fruit of the belly in a person; male with מ ש א (mem, shin, alef), and female with מ א ש (mem, alef, shin).
[§34] He made ש (shin) rule over אֵשׁ (esh), fire, and bound to it a crown, and transposed them with each other, sealing with it heavens in the world, heat in the year, and the head in a person, male with shin, mem, alef, and female with shin, alef, mem.
[§35 (MS A)] How did he transpose them? אמש אשם מאש משא שמא שאם (Alef mem shin, alef shin mem, mem alef shin, mem shin alef, shin mem alef, shin alef mem)—heavens, fire; air, breath; earth, water. Man’s head: fire; his belly: water; his heart: breath.
[§36 (MS A)] Three mothers: alef, mem, shin. There was formed with alef: breath, air, humidity, chest, law, and tongue. There was formed with mem: earth, cold, belly, and the scale of acquittal. There was formed with ש (shin): heavens, heat, head, and the scale of guilt. This is alef, mem, shin. The end.
[§37] Seven doubles: בג״ד כפר״ת (beth, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions. Their basis is life and peace, wisdom, wealth, prosperity, beauty and mastery. They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions: ב (beth, veth), ג (gimel, ghimel), ד (daleth, dhaleth), כ (kaf, khaf), פ (peh, feh), ר (resh, rhesh), ת (taw, thaw)—דָּגֵּשׁ (dagesh), and רָפֵה (rhafeh), soft and hard, a paradigm of strong and weak. They are doubles because they are opposites. The opposite of life is death; the opposite of peace is war [lit., evil]; the opposite of wisdom is folly; the opposite of wealth is poverty; the opposite of prosperity is desolation; the opposite of beauty is ugliness; and the opposite of mastery is slavery.
[§38] Seven doubles: beth, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw, corresponding to seven קָצֶווֹת (qatse’ot), ends [or: extremities, see Bahir §82]: a place of ends and a holy place; one—a place set within a place; two—the upper extremity, three—the lower extremity, four—the eastern extremity, five—the western extremity, six—the northern extremity, seven, the everlasting extremity, and the holy Temple set in the middle and it supports them all.
[§39] Seven doubles: beth, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw. He engraved and hewed them, He transposed them, forming with them the planets in the world, the days in the year, and the gates in a person by sevens [cf. Deuteronomy 16:18].
[§40] How did he transpose them? Two stones build two houses; three build six; four build twenty-four; five build one hundred and twenty; six build seven hundred and twenty; seven build five thousand and forty [i.e., factorials]. From here on go out and ponder what the mouth cannot speak, and what the ear cannot hear.
[§42] And with them were engraved out seven firmaments, seven earths, seven hours and seven times. Therefore He loved the seventh under the heavens.
[§43a] These are the seven planets in the world: חַמָה (ḥamah), Sun, נוֹגַה (noghah), Venus, כּוֹכָב (kokhav), Mercury, לְבָנָה (levanah), Moon, שַׁבְּתַאִי (shabbethai), Saturn, צֶדֶק (tsedheq), Jupiter, מַאְדִים (ma’adhim), Mars. And the days in the year: the seven days of creation. And the seven gates in a person: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth.
[§45] Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he waw zayin ḥeth teth yod, lamed nun samekh ’ayin tsadhi qof). Their basis is seeing, hearing, smelling, conversing, tasting, mating, doing, walking, impatience, laughing, contemplating, sleeping.
[§47] Their measure is twelve גְבוּלֵי אֲלַכְסוֹן (gevulei alakhson), diagonal borders [or: edges, lines]: the north-eastern border, the south-eastern border, the upper eastern border, the lower eastern border, the lower northern border, the north-western border, the upper northern border, the lower western border, the south-western border, the upper western border, the lower southern border, the upper southern border. Deepening and expanding until evermore—זְרֹעֹת עוֹלָם (zero’oth olam), arms of the world (Deuteronomy 33:27) [alluding to צוּרוֹת (tsurot), forms, cf. BT Ḥagigah 12b ad loc.; Bahir §95].
[§48a] He made them a sort of lawsuit, He arranged them in battle array, One opposite the other God made them (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
[§48b] Three—each one stands by itself; seven are at loggerheads—three against three, and one is the law which holds the balance between them. Twelve stand in battle array: three love but three hate; three give life but three kill. And the divine, trustworthy King rules over them all—one on top of three, and three on top of seven, and seven on top of twelve. And they all cling to each other.
[§49a] Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he waw zayin ḥeth teth yod, lamed nun samekh ’ayin tsadhi qof). He engraved them and hewed them, He weighed them and permuted them, forming with them the twelve constellations in the world, twelve months in the year, and the twelve principal organs in a person.
These [§49b] are the twelve constellations in the world: טָלֶה (taleh), Aries, שׁוֹר (shor), Taurus, תְּאוֹמִים (te’omim), Gemini, סַרְטָן (sartan), Cancer, אַרְיֵה (arhyeh), Leo, בְּתוּלָה (bethulah), Virgo, מֹאזְנַיִם (moznayim), Libra, עַקְרָב (‘aqrhav), Scorpio, קַשָּׁת (qashath), Sagittarius, גְּדִי (gedhi), Capricorn, דְּלִי (deli), Aquarius, דָּגִים (daghim), Pisces. And these are the twelve months: נִיסָּן (Nissan), אִייָר (Iyyar), סִיוָן (Siwan), תַמוּז (Thammuz), אָב (Av), אֱלוּל (Elul), תִּשְׁרֵי (Tishrhei), מַרְחֶשְׁוָן (Marḥeshwan), כִּסְלֵו (Kislew), טֵבֵת (Teveth), שֵׁבֶט (Shevet), אֲדָר (Adhar). And these are the twelve principal organs in a person: the right hand, the left hand, the right foot, the left foot, two kidneys, the liver, the gall, the spleen, the gullet, the stomach, and the intestines.
[§50] Three mothers, and seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters].
[§56] These are the twenty-two letters [on which] Yah YHWH of armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name [founded the world] (Isaiah 57:15).
[§58] Three fathers and their generations, and seven dominant ones and their hosts, and the twelve diagonal borders. And a proof for the matter—trustworthy witnesses: the world, the year and a person.
[§59a] There is a law of ten, three, seven and twelve. They are officials over the Teli, the Wheel, and the Heart.
[§59b] The Teli in the world is like a king on his throne; the Wheel in the year is like a king in a province; the Heart in a person is like a king at war.
[§60b] One opposite the other God made them (Ecclesiastes 7:14): good opposite evil—good from good and evil from evil. Good brings evil to light and evil brings good to light. Good is stored up for the good and evil is kept for the evil.
[§61] When Abraham our father gazed—looking, seeing, probing, understanding, engraving, hewing, permuting, and forming—he succeeded. Immediately the Lord of All was revealed to him, making him sit in His lap, kissing him upon the head, and calling him My lover (Isaiah 41:8), naming him His son, and making a covenant with him and his seed for ever. And he trusted in YHWH, and He reckoned it to his merit (Genesis 15:6). [And He invoked upon him the glory of YHWH, as is written, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you (Jeremiah 1:5) (MS A)]. He made with him a covenant between the ten toes of his feet—it is the covenant of circumcision. He made with him a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands—it is the covenant of the tongue. He bound twenty [-two] letters into his tongue, and the Omnipresent revealed to him His secret. He drew them out in water, he burned them with fire, he shook them in the breath, he branded them into the seven, he led them into the twelve constellations.
[§62] (1) Air and temperate state and chest; earth, cold and belly; heavens and heat and the head. This is א מ ש (alef, mem, shin).
(2) Saturn, Sabbath and the mouth; Jupiter, the first day of the week and the right eye; Mars, the second day of the week and the left eye; the Sun, the third day of the week and the right nostril; Venus, the fourth day of the week and the left nostril; Mercury, the fifth day of the week and the right ear; the Moon, the sixth day of the week and the left ear. This is בג״ד כפר״ת (beth, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw).
(3) Aries, Nissan, the liver; Taurus, Iyyar, the gall; Gemini, Siwan, the spleen; Cancer, Thammuz, the gullet; Leo, Av, the right kidney; Virgo, Elul, the left kidney; Libra, Tishrhei, the intestines; Scorpio, Marḥeshwan, the stomach; Sagittarius, Kislew, the right hand; Capricorn, Teveth, the left hand; Aquarius, Shevet, the right foot; Pisces, Adhar, the left foot. This is הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof).
1 Three are hostile and these are they: the tongue, the liver and the gal.
2 Three love: the heart, the ears and the eyes.
3 Three give life: the two nostrils and the liver of the left side.
4 Three kill: the two lower orifices and the mouth.
5 There are three which are in man’s control: the feet, the hands and the mouth.
6 There are three which are not in man’s control: his two eyes, his ears and his nostrils.
7 Three evil things are heard by the ear: cursing, blasphemy and an evil report.
8 Three good things are heard by the ear: blessing, a good report and praise.
9 Three sights are bad for the eye: adultery, an evil eye and a deceptive look.
10 Three sights are good for the eye: modesty, a good eye, and a trustworthy look.
11 Three things are bad for the tongue: He who speaks in the presence of the slanderer, he who speaks one thing with the mouth but another with the heart, and he who speaks too much.
12 Three things are good for the tongue: silence, reticence, and speaking the truth.
Whoever understands this book and keeps it has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This is the book of Abraham our father, peace be upon him, which is called The Book of Formation.
There is no limit to the wisdom of everyone who looks into it. And the mysteries of the upper and lower world will be revealed to everyone who occupies himself with it and studies it and knows its mysteries, and he has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This book, which is called The Secret of Intercalation on which the whole world depends, should not be handed over to anyone except he who turns away from evil and fears אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), God, and waits and hopes for his Maker, as is said, steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in YHWH (Psalms 32:10), and it says, Israel is rescued by YHWH with an everlasting rescue, you will not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity (Isaiah 45:17).